THE MANDARIN TREE – Cengiz Akaygün (Germany, 2018) 18′

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December 9, 2019
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THE MANDARIN TREE – Cengiz Akaygün (Germany, 2018) 18′

After her father is arrested for political reasons by the Turkish government, little Sirin is finally allowed to visit him in prison for the first time. When a prison official interprets her painting of a bird as an anarchistic symbol and confiscates it, the girl is devastated, but her father encourages her to believe in the freedom of thought. For her second visit, she paints a “harmless” mandarin tree. – Will her hidden message be discovered?

Born in Germany to a Kurdish family while his mother was visiting for a medical treatment, Cengiz Akaygün was raised in Turkey until the age of seven, when his family returned to Stuttgart.

While studying Communications and Media Studies he pursued his passion for filmmaking by directing an image film for the city of Duisburg. After that, he made a documentary about Kurdish students in Diyarbakir, which was filmed on location in Turkey with a hidden camera.

After graduating with his B.A., he became a social worker in Stuttgart where he worked with teenagers from immigrant backgrounds for the organisations “Kreisjugendring Rems-Murr” and “Internationaler Bund.” One of his film workshops resulted in the film »The Others«, which the teenagers directed, shot and edited.

As a producer, director and screenwriter, he made his first short film »Free Monkeys« in 2014. A thriller addressing global ethics and individual guilt, the film won awards at several international festivals, including Best Film at the Genrenale Festival in Berlin and at the TMFF Festival in the UK.

Following »The Barber and the Refugee« from 2016, »The Mandarin Tree« is his third short film dealing with the theme of social injustice. He is currently working on the screenplay for his first feature film »Mira & The Ghost from the Beach«.

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